jacket potatoes with beans and cheese

Whenever I go to The Mall, from all of their food available, I nearly always have a jacket potato. Quick, nice, and I didn’t eat them as a child.
They’re also great at music festivals, because no matter how bad you store/cook a potato, the chances of food poisoning are considerably less than with meat of some kind. Nobody dies from eating an underdone potato. Some slightly underdone potato doesn’t keep you in the toilet for the next 2 days.

That said, I’ve always found them a sod to cook.
My first attempt at this in my old flat involved me putting one in the microwave for what seemed like forever, then removing it and finding it rock hard. Repeated blasts in microwave I think resulted in it being rock hard. Possibly even harder than it was when it went in.

I discovered a while back that Tescos sell pre-cooked jacket potatoes, with cheese already in them. You warm them in the oven for 25-30mins and then eat. They’re about 80p each though, and they taste a bit odd. I don’t know what it is – maybe something to do with the cheese. They’re not as nice as properly cooked-from-fresh ones though.

Talking of Tescos, it’s only in the last few months that I’ve realised just how poor the fruit and veg is in my local supermarket.
I went in a couple of days back, went to get a baking potato, and the loose ones were all blackened, beaten to within an inch of their lives, or a funny red colour. I’m not sure if red is good or bad, but its not the colour I was expecting. The pre-packed sets of 4 potatos “for baking” looked considerably nicer, but price wise – are clearly more expensive.
I went in this morning for some pineapple juice and went to buy some apples, and the only Royal Gala or Pink Lady varieties on display were bruised. Not beaten yet, I tried a layer below, or one of the green trays behind/beneath the visible one, and found them to be going mouldy under there.
Sometimes I wonder if this isn’t all a big con to get me to buy the fancy looking pre-packed ones.

Anyway, I got my pre-packed rip-off baking potatoes a couple of days back, so thought I’d have them for my tea with a can of baked beans and some cheese. Healthy and easy enough.
I was quite disappointed to read on the packet the potatoes came in, that the average cooking time was 75mins. It was already gone 20:00 when I was looking at starting cooking. I assumed given that I have a fan-assisted oven, I could knock 10mins off of that.
If I took a shower and watched some tv, it would fly by.

Potatoes washed, spiked, and in at 20.24.
I went for my shower – took my time. Was still out by 20:50.
Wasn’t much on tv, so started looking at some random rubbish on Youtube.
Sorted some household bills.
Finally, it was 21.20. I assumed it’d definitely be done by now.
Not really sure how to check if potatoes are done, so I cut one in half with a sharp knife, and poked the inside to see if it was rock hard. It seemed soft. Then I realised I was using an ultra sharp knife, that would probably feel soft if I poked it into a raw potato.
I repeated it with a normal knife, and it felt a bit raw.
Returned to oven.
Constant checking is probably bad for it, but by 21:40 I had waited enough, and cooked or not cooked, it was coming out.

Beans and cheese added, and eaten.
It was ok. About 95% cooked through properly, which is good I guess.
Quite nice..although not quite as nice as if someone else had cooked it for me.

I’ll cook it again – I just need to find something to do for 80mins next time, and not wait til I’m hungry before I think about cooking it.

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